“…the manor in fee-farm together with the court leet and view of frankpledge…”

Image: (Wikipedia): “Richmond Palace Gate House was built in 1501, and was let on a 65-year lease by the Crown Estate Commissioners in 1986.


From: A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3, ed. H E Malden (London, 1911):

“…The original hamlet of Richmond, or Sheen as it was called before the reign of Henry VII, lay in a hollow on the north-east side of the royal palace which stood between the river and the green…

…Richard II was there immediately afterwards, if not at the time. The palace was one of his favourite resorts, and his queen, Anne of Bohemia, dated several instruments here. She held the manor of Isleworth on the other side of the Thames. The queen died here in 1394, and Richard’s distress was so great that he ordered the royal house to be destroyed. It remained in partial ruins until it was rebuilt, according to Stow, by Henry V about the same time as he founded the Carthusian monastery near it, soon after his accession. The rebuilding, however, probably more truly belongs to Henry VI, who carried it on in order that the palace might be worthy of the reception of his queen, Margaret of Anjou. Edward IV granted it to his queen for life. Henry VII frequently made it his residence, and in 1492 he held a grand tournament there which is described by Stow: ‘In the moneth of May following, was holden a great and valiant justing within the kinges manor of Shine, nowe called Richmond, in Southerie…

…They were evidently added to the Crown manor, which has remained in royal hands from about 1305 until the present day, although granted out at various times by successive kings. In 1315 it was described as the king’s manor of Sheen, and Edward II made it an occasional place of residence, as his father had done towards the close of his reign. Edward III granted the manor in 1331 to his mother, the dowager Queen Isabella, for her life. She died in 1358, and in 1359 William of Wykeham, at that time an influential favourite with the king, was given the custody of the manor. Two years later Ralph Thurbarn was made keeper. In 1377 John de Swanton, who had previously been granted the custody of the warren of Sheen, was appointed to the keepership of the manor for life. He held the office during the greater part of the reign of Richard II, but gave it up to his son Thomas in 1390. Edward IV, soon after his accession, made William Norburgh custodian of the manor of Sheen for life.

In 1466 the king granted the manor for life to his queen Elizabeth Woodville, together with the park, warren, and all appurtenances, and she conceded the office of custodian to William Norburgh in 1468, allowing him to hold it himself or by deputy. A few months after the accession of Richard III, however, Henry Davy obtained from the king a grant of the keepership of the manor for life. This grant included the custody of the garden, warren, and park belonging to the palace, and it is interesting to notice that the several offices were worth 6d. a day for the manor, 4d. a day for the garden, 3d. a day for the warren, and 2d. a day for the park, with another 2d. for the maintenance of the palings of the park. The custody of the manor was again transferred on the accession of Henry VII, who granted it for life to Robert Skerne in 1485. The manor itself was still the right of Queen Elizabeth, the widow of Edward IV, but in 1487 Henry VII held a council at Sheen, and declared that she had forfeited her property by deserting his cause before he became king. After that time she retired into the abbey of Bermondsey, where she died in 1492. Henry, having appropriated the manor of Sheen, held it throughout his reign, and changed its name to Richmond.

Richmond in Yorkshire was an earldom of Henry VII

In 1522 Henry VIII granted a lease of the lordship of Richmond for thirty years to Massi Villiarde, serjeant of the king’s pleasure-water, and Thomas Brampton, with the exception of the palace and the park, of which they were only granted the custody. In 1540 the king bestowed the manor, palace, and park upon Anne of Cleves as part of the provision made for her after her divorce. She granted a lease for eighty years to David Vincent, which was confirmed to him by Edward VI in 1547, a reservation being made of the palace and park, or one of the parks, belonging to it. Later Vincent transferred his lease to Gregory Lovel. Sir Thomas Gorges received a grant of the keepership of the house, park, and garden, with the wardrobe, vessels, and victuals, in 1597. This grant was repeated to himself and his wife, the Marchioness of Northampton, for their lives, about 1603, and in 1607 Sir Thomas Gorges obtained a grant of the manor for forty years, with the exception of the palace, park, and ferry. Sir Thomas died in 1610, and in the same year the king granted the manor, palace, and park to Henry Prince of Wales and his heirs. In January 1617, a few years after the death of Prince Henry, they were assigned to Sir Francis Bacon and others in trust for Prince Charles, who received a direct grant of the manor, palace, and park for himself and his heirs in February of the same year. As Charles I he is said to have settled them on his queen, Henrietta Maria, in 1626. A court leet, to be held twice a year, was appointed for the manor of Richmond in 1628, and the king ordered that the tenants of the manors of Richmond, Petersham, and Ham should attend it instead of the court leet at Kingston, as had been the custom.

Sir Robert Douglas was made steward of the court for life. In 1638 he, as Viscount Belhaven, was the keeper of the palace and park, as well as steward of the court leet and court baron; but he surrendered these offices in that year, and the king granted the custody of the palace and park to James Stuart, Duke of Lennox. In 1639 William Murray, afterwards Earl of Dysart, was the lessee of Richmond Manor under the queen, and on her determination to surrender it to the king, Murray petitioned for a grant of the manor in fee-farm together with the court leet and view of frankpledge. An order to this effect was accordingly given, but was evidently not carried out, as the manor remained part of the queen’s jointure. It became the property of Sir Gregory Norton, bart., and later of his son Sir Henry Norton during the Commonwealth, but was restored to Queen Henrietta Maria in 1660.

In July of that year the custody of the manor, palace, and park was consigned to Edward Villiers, who petitioned that the grant might extend during the lives of his two sons. Queen Henrietta Maria did not die until 1669, but perhaps exchanged the manor with the king, as in 1664 it was granted with the ‘capital messuage’ and the park to James, Duke of York, afterwards James II, and his heirs. On his accession he settled the manor on his queen, Mary Beatrice, as part of her jointure. It must have been appropriated with the rest of her jointure by William and Mary, as in 1690 her trustees desired that no grant of the manor might be made until they were first heard on her behalf. The manor does not appear to have been granted out again until 1733, when it was conferred by George II upon George, Earl of Cholmondeley, to hold during the life of Queen Caroline, who died in 1737. In 1770 it was granted, exclusive of the site of the palace, to Queen Charlotte for her life, by George III. This is the last grant of the manor that has been found, and it is now in the possession of His Majesty King George V…

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